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March 27, 2015

"Plant Your Future" reduced Insecticide use on Soybeans by 50%

The Secretary of Agriculture for the State of Parana announced earlier this week that their two year old plan to reduce the insecticide use on soybeans had been very successful. The plan called "Plant Your Future" was started in 2013 and it employed a team of technical experts to work with farmers to better monitor insect populations. The technicians from the Secretary of Agriculture monitored the insect populations and advised farmers only to apply insecticides when insect populations reached an economic threshold.

Participants in the program applied only 2.3 applications of insecticides to their 2014/15 soybean crop compared the average in the state of five applications, which represents a savings of more than 50%. Additionally, participants delayed their first insecticide application until 63 days after the soybeans had emerged compared to the average start of 23 days after emergence for non-participants.

The program was started when news of a new insect pest in Brazil, the corn earworm, convinced local and state governments to declare phytosanitary emergencies fearing that the insect would cause widespread damage to crops. As a result, farmers started spraying for the insect even though populations were below the economic threshold. The "Plant Your Future" program was designed to teach farmers how to better manage pest infestations.